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The Journey to Easter
We have just marked Palm Sunday, with the traditional text of the Triumphal Entry ringing in our ears. This begins the drama, the rollercoaster that is the wild, emotional ride of Holy Week. And Palm Sunday is a relief after the sacrifice, temptation and resisting of wilderness. The time of reckoning and justice has come! Yet we know for the disciples and for this crowd gathered shouting their hallelujahs, the pain, grief and disorientation is coming.
All of the tensions and challenges of the week can be traced back to one question: Who is this Jesus?
And of course, this is a question we have heard before. This is the very question that is addressed both at Jesus’ baptism and in the temptation in the wilderness—where we began this Lenten journey.
Now, we know where this story is going. We know the resounding answer will be: Truly this man was the Son of God. But the intensity of Holy Week reminds us of the whispers and wonderings of wilderness. Identity and desires are revealed and tested.
The stories of Jesus and his disciples in the days leading up to the resurrection account echo the wilderness wonderings of the people of God throughout time: Is this really the plan? Is God faithful? We had hoped… Now what?
What does this tale about a borrowing a donkey, about palms and cloaks and hosannas have to tell us? Why would we read this story when we know that so quickly the hopes will be dashed?
In Roman society triumphal processions followed after (violent) military exploits of generals. It was the victory march. In his triumphal entry, Jesus is making a statement about power, signaling what kind of king he will be.
Jesus has just been ministering-- healing, proclaiming good news, connecting with those who are marginalized. Jesus is offering attention and touch and a word of hope. The power Jesus is exercising is making things right in the world; the ministry of restoration.
We have already explored the question of who is he? We have wandered in the wilderness, wrestling with what is revealed. And now we face the temptation that has been there all along: to use what power we have to assure an outcome based on our limited view.
At times we are impatient with the ways of God, eager to conclude the story.
But in the tensions, twists and turns of Holy Week, what might God be revealing and inviting you to see, experience or understand in a new way?
If you would like some guidance in responding to this question, a free Holy Week reflection guide is available for download here.
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